One of the foremost problems, when it comes to mental health services, is the limited access to appropriate care that many people face. The National Council on Behavioral Health released a survey in 2018 finding that 56% of people would like to seek mental healthcare but are stopped by the many barriers to quality care. One of those barriers is the overall lack of qualified mental health professionals to meet the nation’s need. Shortage’s span across all states, with a need for over 7,000 additional clinicians to bridge the gap.
Outside of the logistical disparities this country faces with mental health services, more obstacles arise when it comes to insurance and social stigma. Finding health insurance that provides adequate mental health coverage can be tricky. This often leads to overbearing, out of pocket expenses, and those without health insurance are forced to cover their costs or not receive treatment at all.
Many individuals also feel they might be looked at differently or judged if they seek mental health treatment due to social stigmas that, sadly, still exist. This might deter some from taking the essential toward a happier life by finding the right mental health treatment for their condition.
Federal Response to Mental Health
Often, mental health legislation happens on the State level, but the Federal government can promote awareness, policy, research, and funding. Their role spans from insurance regulation to protecting patient rights. Federal action creates the groundwork for states to implement efficient legislation to address mental health practice.
When the federal government passes law, states often match the national standard. Landmark legislation passed at the federal level include the Rehabilitation Act, The Affordable Care Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
In addition to legislation, the federal government’s role encompasses the protection of those with mental health disorders in the workplace, school, medical establishments and more to prevent discrimination and promotes inclusion.
Mental health services, like most things, cannot exist without funding. The federal government comes in as a major funder for such services that are under the umbrella of Medicare and the Department of Veteran Affairs. It matches 50%-70% of state funding, making its support essential for mental healthcare. Additionally, the federal government gives out Mental Health Block Grants that incentivize states to expand access to affordable mental health services. Federal funding also aids research and awareness initiatives for mental health and mental health services. Government agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration exist in order to lead the movement in research and education.
Of course, quality mental healthcare cannot exist without exceptional mental healthcare on the private level as well. And Destination Hope’s Mental Health Center strives to make mental healthcare as affordable and accessible as possible. Contact us to learn more and speak to a qualified admissions counselor.